Should central banks be doing more?
European Central Bank (ECB) president Mario Draghi (L) arrives to address a press conference in the central German city of Frankfurt am Main on June 6, 2012. A number of eurozone central bank chiefs wanted the ECB to cut its key rates this month, Draghi said. 'A few members would have preferred to have a rate cut today. I would say not many,' Draghi told a news conference after the ECB held borrowing costs at their historic low of 1.0 percent at its regular monthly policy meeting. The decision to hold rates steady was 'taken by very broad consensus,' he added.
Jeremy Hobson: Josh Brown of Fusion Analytics joins us live as he does each Wednesday. Good morning, Josh.
Josh Brown: Good morning.
Hobson: Let's start with the problem that's being talked about more and more right now, and that is that the world economy is starting to slow down a little. Warren Buffett, the billionaire investor, said last night he thinks the chances the U.S. is heading back into a recession are very low. What do you think?
Brown: So China is probably in technical recession already, or headed there very shortly. Europe is basically a giant recession. It's very tough for us to say that the U.S. can decouple. So we'll have trouble; it doesn't mean that we necessarily have to have a contraction, but it wouldn't be all that surprising. So I think at this point, we're kind of looking at it as a 40 percent probability.
Hobson: Forty percent. A lot of people are looking to central banks for help, and I want to ask you about that because I just mentioned that the ECB did not change their interest rate, and I saw an article today headlined 'Save us, Bernanke: You're our only hope.' But should the central banks be doing more?
Brown: What a bullish headline that is. You know, at a certain point -- and you're heard this term used before probably by me -- the central banks are really pushing on a string. In the context of a balance sheet recession, when people still need to de-lever, adding more liquidity doesn't do much other than deflating the actual cost of the debt. So I think obviously people are expecting central banks at a certain point to come up with the grand compromise that will include money-printing and lowering rates, but it's also going to have to include things like easing off on the austerity demands of countries that simply can't afford it anymore, rotating debt around, recapitalizing banks. It's never just one tool; it's never just one fix once things get to this point.
Hobson: Josh Brown of Fusion Analytics, thanks as always.
Brown: Thank you.